The world’s poorest and most vulnerable nations–who have done the least to cause climate change–are already mobilising resources to cope with the brunt of climate-related harm. When these countries call for finance to address loss and damage, it’s just another reminder that the burden has to be shared much more fairly. It should be paid for by the historical and big polluters – both corporations and states. However, some seem to lack an understanding of what we need L&D finance for.
Climate risk insurance, which allows vulnerable nations and people to transfer risk to bodies with more stable financial bases, is only one aspect of the L&D response. Financial commitments to these risk insurance pools are certainly welcome, but one-time donations are not enough. Developed countries can and must do more to support insurance schemes. They can’t be used as a way of shifting the responsibility and cost from polluters to the vulnerable. Contributions must be sustained, predictable, support the premiums of those who cannot afford them, and increase steadily as climate damage intensifies.
Insurance is not the be-all and end-all of an effective L&D response. By definition, non-economic losses and damages, like loss of life, culture and livelihoods, not to mention land, cannot easily be compensated by payouts. Insurance schemes can’t help those without much property to insure. Remember, it’s just a start.
Vulnerable nations require a source of new and additional L&D funding that can be used for responses to slow-onset disasters, such as the relocation costs that will inevitably accompany sea level rise and desertification. Funds are also needed to provide social protection as well as post-disaster support to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable, regardless of whether their national government has purchased insurance.
It’s also essential that funds for L&D response not simply be diverted from other important and underfunded needs, such as adaptation. In addition to budgetary provisions, many compelling financial mechanisms have been suggested, including levies on international air travel, bunker fuels, carbon emissions and fossil fuel extraction. It is crucial to look closely at L&D finance needs and to proactively set out a course for funding this year. This should start with the SCF [including] [recognising] loss and damage in its definition of climate finance.
May 16, Bonn, Germany - This UN climate negotiations, kicking off today in Bonn, represent the first time governments have formally met since the Paris Agreement was agreed last December, and with over 170 countries meeting in New York in April to sign the agreement political momentum on climate change continues on a high. Today countries are giving their opening statements in a plenary session as negotiators set out their stalls ahead of two weeks of negotiations, focused on rule-making for the new global climate regime and efforts to ramp up short-term ambition to tackle climate change. There is no time to lose.
“It was announced today that last month was the hottest April ever, which means we have now experienced seven months in a row of months breaking temperature records,” says Teresa Anderson from ActionAid. “As the hottest El Nino ever bites across the world, 60 million people are expected to face its impacts this year in the form of heatwaves, droughts and famine. In Paris, governments agreed to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. This number may prove to be the planet's lifeline, but only if we choose to pick up that lifeline, grab it with both hands, and follow it to its necessary conclusion. We need much greater ambition to radically and fairly cut emissions, delivered much faster than the national pledges currently on the table.”
“We are seeing some positive signs”, says Alden Meyer from the Union of Concerned Scientists. “177 parties have signed the Paris Agreement and 16 have already deposited instruments of ratification. Outside the UN process the renewable energy revolution is unfolding, and financial flows are shifting towards low carbon development - but the question is whether this is happening fast enough to keep pace with changes in the physical environment. Negotiators have an opportunity in Bonn to speed things up by developing the rulebook for the Paris Agreement, working to build capacity for a major increase in both pre- and post-2020 ambition, and putting the spotlight on efforts to ramp up support for adaptation and loss and damage ahead of the COP in Marrakesh.”
“Today the new Moroccan Presidency labelled COP 22 in Marrakesh the ‘COP for action’ which is good a start”, says Anoop Poonia from Climate Action Network South Asia. “This year we need action to develop a roadmap that delivers the long-promised $100 billion in climate finance. In the process negotiators must ensure this finance supports both adaptation and mitigation in order to boost the resilience of the most vulnerable countries already experiencing climate impacts. Right now less than $6 billion per year is available for adaptation - this is not enough. Another important task for governments here in Bonn is to get working on the rules for accounting and transparency so that we develop more accurate ways to measure the cost of complex climate impacts and exactly what support falls under the banner of ‘climate finance’ as we move forwards.”
Contact: Tierney Smith, GCCA, email: email@example.com, phone: +447545255955
About CAN: Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 950 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. More at: www.climatenetwork.org
The Paris Agreement sets a clear vision for the world to keep global temperature rise to 1.5°C, through a full decarbonisation of the global economy. It also provides a framework to improve action on mitigation, adaptation and finance through regular reviews and renewed commitments – for all countries simultaneously.
With the Paris Agreement clearly setting out the task that lays ahead, this year Parties need to create provisions under the Paris Agreement that will enable, incentivise and enforce action at a national level. This requires a delicate balancing of provisions that enable national action and those that create obligations. Civil society has an important stake in this process and must be listened to.
We cannot forget that current commitments are wholly inadequate to keep warming to 1.5°C. At current emission levels, we will use up our entire 1.5°C compatible carbon budget by 2020. Urgent action is needed now. The Technical Examination Process (TEP) should focus on identifying actionable solutions that can close the gigatonne gap and the barriers to these solutions. But identifying solutions is not enough – the newly appointed champions for pre-2020 action should produce a scenario note for the next 2 years showing how they intend to address barriers and enable actual implementation.
The next best opportunity to rectify the current shortfall from the inadequate (I)NCDs will be at the 2018 “facilitative dialogue to take stock of the collective efforts of Parties”. Parties must start preparing themselves from now for the (re-)submission of NDCs in 2018. This review must take relevant findings from the upcoming IPCC Special Report on 1.5°C and the INDC synthesis reports into account.
Additionally, countries need to dial up the ambition of their INDCs in line with climate objectives, with adequate support to developing countries and a clear view on the economic, social and environmental co-benefits that come with low carbon development.
The question mark over finance needs to be removed. Uncertainty in scale, delivery and scope of climate finance is and has been the biggest impediment towards progress. A roadmap to the US$100 billion annually is urgently required. This roadmap must close the financing gap in preparing for and addressing rising climate impacts, be rooted in predictability and based on transparency between developed and developing countries. The result must be support for the most vulnerable in dealing with impacts through adequate and predictable climate finance, especially via the loss and damage mechanism.
The success of COP21 and Paris Agreement is not a given – history will judge it based on the scale of results achieved by countries in the following years and decades. These results depend to a great extent on the scale of financial flows between countries for enabling national action. ECO hopes that countries will be true to their word, and the Agreement will be fully implemented.